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Author Topic: Seeking advice on an upcoming project- $2k budget, best technique in ~700 rooms?  (Read 2447 times)

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Offline Gutbucket

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Okay, a couple more pointers on putting mics on stage in case you decide to go that route (no worries if you don't, really!), then I'll bow out.  I didn't intend to dominate the conversation, so apologies to everyone else for so many words, perhaps too much information, and my sometimes dissenting poing of view.  Folks here know how I roll.

Some mics on stage detail stuff- 
Either spaced omnis or ORTF cardioids as goodcooker suggests should work well at the front of the stage. As mentioned already, stay away from the radiation directly out of the floor wedge monitors.  Close to the side of monitors is fine, and behind them in the space between a wedge and the stage-lip is fine, although typically on a small stage they will be pushed close to the lip.  But mostly likely you can just sort of center you mics between floor monitors, pretty much in line across the stage with them.

Try to get a clear line of sight to the snare-drum.  You ideally want a clear line of sight to all sound sources on stage, especially that clean snare drum snap.  If possible, place the mics so as to be off-axis to guitar cabinets.  They project a lot on-axis and can dominate.  The balance of the entire band on stage will often bet better balanced if the guitar amp cabinets are not pointing directly at the microphone positions, but don't sweat that one too much. 

Again, these are details.  The main point is that is were the sound and excitement is, and a recording make there + SBD is going to sound very different from one made from the balcony.  If you do record with mics on stage, put the Zoom up in the balcony as well if you can so you can draw your own comparisons afterwards.  That kind of comparison, between recordings you've made yourself, is incredibly valuable for determining your own path forward.
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Offline love2tape

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Gutbucket, I greatly appreciate your advice. Getting a disparity of opinions and ideas is exactly what I came here for. You all have been a huge help.

I have another question that can't seem to answer via googling or the Enter the Matrix guide (which is great)- what exactly does "running your mics through the house snakes" look like in practice?

I am going to be running 2x C460b (ck22 omni caps) and 2x KM184. I've spoken to the band's manager- he assures me we will have full support from the venue. So I'll likely be reaching out to see if I can contact their engineer soon- Trying to figure out what sorts of questions to ask. Does 'running through the house snakes' basically mean that I would set up my mics on stage, plug them in VIA xlr to something on the stage (for which I need to ask if there will be room), and then be able to take my Tascam DR680 to the mixer at FOH and run XLRs from the board to the DR680 and be able to mix everything, my mics and a SBD feed in the 680 from back there?

Researching, I see phantom power is a concern here- I'm trying to decipher a) if my general understanding of "running through the house snakes" is correct and b)what I need to be concerned about re: phantom power for my mics. Is it a case of 'phantom power off on the dr680, house snakes will power your mics' or do I need to find out how to both power my mics and run them through the house snakes safely and reliably? I want to be as unobtrusive as possible, so being able to monitor everything to the side of the mixer seems very preferable if that's possible, here.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2018, 04:35:44 AM by love2tape »

Offline goodcooker

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snip < what exactly does "running your mics through the house snakes" look like in practice? > snip

You have the idea correct but there are a couple of ways to go about it. Think of the house cabling as just a really long set of XLR cables.

1) You plug your mics into the stage box - it's a box that has all the inputs that correlate to the channels on the mixing console on the other end - that's assuming there are unused inputs. On the other end there is what's usually referred to as a "fan" - an output cable for each of the channels that matches the numbers of the box on the stage. You take your channels' cables and plug them into your deck located at the mix position. You use the deck as you normally would and send P48 to your mics - MAKE SURE you do not send P48 to the mixing console through your SBD patch. IIRC the DR680 has switchable phantom power on sets of 2 input channels so don't activate P48 on your SBD patch channels.

2) it's possible the FOH can route your feed to one of the AUX sends and send it to the box on the stage the same way he would send a monitor mix. You set up your mics on the stage and run your cables over to the side somewhere out of the way and take your SBD from the sends on the stage input box. Almost all stage setups that have the FOH engineer also mixing monitors will have some capability to send AUX channels to the on stage box. You take your patch from up front and run your gear off to the side, around back or wherever you can be out of the way.

3) This method requires more help from the FOH but isn't that complicated if he/she is amenable to doing it and if the console is capable of it and of good quality (to be honest I'd imagine most decent modern mixers have preamps that are as good as the preamps in a Tascam DR680) - you can run your onstage mics into the inputs on the stage end of the snake and let the mixing console provide P48 and level control (make sure that any EQ or dynamics processing is disabled - you just want a clean signal) and you take the direct out from each channel into your DR680 located near the mixing console. This is easier to accomplish if you can set it up and give it a run during the sound check. I used to do this very thing (but 4 channels instead of 6) with my R4 and a 20 foot 4 channel TRS snake that I bought off CL for $25. I was friends with the house sound guy and bribed him with treats pretty regularly but we both knew what to expect and I just said hello and set up my stuff - he asked if I was in the usual channel numbers - I set my gains and went to the bar to get a beer.

Any of these scenarios will work but 1) is the easiest and requires less effort from the house guy who has other shit to worry about than your recording.

Remember to bring more cable than you think you need, get there early, be aware of when and how to ask questions of the crew who are working and bring gaff tape but don't tape down your cables on the stage over any others that could be a problem when resetting the stage during band change over. Find out what kind of console they have and do a little homework to familiarize your self with the input/output options and connections to anticipate what you will need to bring. If you get in a bind Guitar Center has Hosa brand molded end TRS stereo cables for pretty cheap.
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Offline love2tape

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That’s awesome, thank you. Here’s hoping for enough inputs for #1! I’m getting a lot more confident with the prospects of a great capture, here- really happy I’m not just going with my original ‘ORTF from balcony railing + SBD’ plan (or heaven forbid - blumlein from the back) . I am excited to see what I’m able to mix with spaced omnis and 2x cards on stage (still not sure how I’ll set up the cards- thinking ORTF dfc on stage lip? Depends on how cluttered the stage is- still looking into my options) and sbd, and potentially also taping up my CA-11s or CA14s for a crowd capture above the center of the room. (All mixed to separate tracks so I can throw it out if I want)

Offline Gutbucket

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If you can put both the AKG omnis and the Neumann cardioids on stage in addition to recording the SBD, so much the better.  Run the Neumanns in ORTF in the center of the stage if you want, and space the omnis out to either side 3' or more, maybe around the 1/4 and 3/4 points across the stage. With the omnis in play on stage I'd go with a narrower angle (like DIN or whatever) in the center pair to focus on the back-line & drums and slightly reduce audience pickup in that pair, but that's just splitting hairs. 
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Offline love2tape

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Thanks to all who posted (Esp. rocksuitcase for pointing me in the direction of the c460b+ck22s & gutbucket for the eternal dedication to assisting others), and broadly to all who contribute to this site- Enter The Matrix + all your insights went so far towards making my run more successful than it might have otherwise been. Didn't end up having a ton of real estate on the stage, as I imagined might be the case looking at pics/vids of other performances at the venue-  so my setup was as follows:

Tascam DR680mkii (24bit/48khz) at mixer (back right of the room next to the bar)
2x AKG460b+ck22 caps near stage corners under stacks/in front of monitors about 2 feet back from the crowd and 2.5 feet high on these stands - fed into house snake, plugged into channels 3&4
2x Neumann KM184 ORTF ROS about ~16' high on a big ole concrete block (on this stand) into channels 1&2 next to a gigantic watertower lookin' drum- the venue's a gorgeously re-purposed textile mill so might have been for dye? Anyway- this was mostly a backup- between the stage being cramped & the balcony requiring me to run an obscene amount of cable, it seemed like a decent spot. I was hoping that I'd be able to primarily mix the stage omnis w/ the SBD, and I'm pretty sure that's the route I'll go.
Postfade stereo feed via XLR female -> TRS into channels 5&6
Recorded w/ mic gain set to HIGH w/ trim set to (channel 1-6) -22, -23, -25, -28, w/ 2 & 2 for the line level feeds.
Recorded all to their own mono track- hard panned L R L R L R, going to try my hand at mastering it all up over the next few weeks.

I was travelling from AZ to NC for these shows, and travelling with all the gear was an adventure all its own- thankfully, spyder9 and KenH included the mics original cases, so I put those in my backpack & purchased this bag for my DR680mkii, H4n pro, km184 ORTF clip, SD cards, batteries, some spare gaffer’s tape (small black rolls, as opposed to the large blue roll I purchased) my Church Audio mics & battery box, and various doohickies (Phase reversers, 2x superclamp, XLR FtM, ¼” to ⅜” adapter for superclamp & larger stand -> mic clip compatability and.. I think that’s it.

I then used this duffel bag and filled it with the 4 stands (bought 3x the first stand I linked in case I wanted to use the neumanns on stage- brought it without the boom attached) & 224 feet of XLR cables (2x 50’, 4x25’, 2x12’) & a number of cables for the board feed- XLR -> TRS, TRS->TRS, RCA -> TRS, Digital.. Tried to prep for as much as possible.

I then stuck THOSE two bags inside this bad boy along with 4x more 25’ XLRs just in case & a few days of clothes. Weighed out at 47 lbs- and Southwest’s carryon limit before fees is 50 lbs :coolguy:

I used my blue gaffer’s tape to write cable length along w/ L or R on half of each set and tape that to each cable- and practiced running cables & wrapping it up together a number of times to get comfortable with that aspect of things. This proved to be a great boon for convenience- however, I learned that I should have taped each cable individually before I left AZ- security had to check out my stuff and it would have helped if there was less wrappage. I secured ‘em each before I left for the venue/home and it helped a good bit.

I had a little freak out moment the night before the first show because I realized I didn’t have shock mounts for my omnis- and of course the sub was under the stage! Thankfully, upon initial monitoring during sound check & afterwords it doesn’t seem to have been too fatal. Board feed sounds good, omnis captured the lows that weren’t as prominent in the house mix and good crowd excitement between songs- funnily enough though, I wish that the omnis would have picked up MORE crowd noise. I was really surprised with how low the crowd sounds upon initial listens. Going to try to see if I can’t remedy that all via EQ but I have pretty limited exposure to mastering so that will be an adventure.

In retrospect, I wish I would have clamped my zoom w/ the CA14os somewhere central or clos to the crowd- I just kinda forgot about my zoom and it would have been nice to have some more direct crowd ambience. Also wish I could have found a better place for my neumann’s- seemed like kind of a waste (in terms of what I was able to pull off with them, not the mics themselves). I was thinking about clamping to the railing near the stage & pointing them at the audience- but opted not to so I had some sort of room ambience backup in case of catastrophic failure with my omnis.

Had a little freakout moment during sound check night 2- I adjusted the omnis very slightly to try to pick up the crowd more (didn’t help much) and during sound check heard some pops coming from the right channel on the stage. Tried to fuck with it a bit- unwrapped the XLR, used the clips to secure them rather than wrapping them around the base, uncoupled it and blew into it (this might have been idiotic- but I was panicking and opted for super nintendo wive’s tales) and I continued to hear really bad clipping pops during the opener. Thankfully, about 15 minutes into the opener, it totally sorted itself out- I am figuring it was because when I was messing with the mics, I pushed the XLR connection up into the mic, but it has some wiggle room and the noise was the result of the bass causing some contact funkiness until it settled as low as it could go??

Whatever it was, it totally disappeared for the last 30 mins of the opener, and they were INTENSE (consistently as loud or louder than the main act at their loudest) so that was good. Was still sweating once the show began, but it turned out great. Naturally peaked out around -6db, no clipping.

The venue staff were so incredibly patient, kind, and helpful- I really couldn’t have lucked out more in that regard. It had a real family feel- I spoke to the owner and she talked about how a lot of the staff have been working together for a long time- in some cases decades, from personal relationships (babysitting, etc). She was a huge fan of the main act- and NC is the main artist’s home state, so there was a really great energy for the shows. I also cannot overstate how wonderful the Haw River Ballroom is as a venue generally- the aesthetics & acoustics were great.

There was a bit of buzz from an amp on stage during the electric guitar bits that there wasn’t really anything anyone could do about- alas, seems like that’s how it goes. Going to also see what I can do about EQing that. Fingers crossed.

Just writing all this in the hopes that it helps someone else down the line some day.. It was quite the experience going from ‘zoom + basic board patch’ to anything more substantial. I’ll tell ya, I sure was sweating’ while I was setting everything up for the first time.

Once again, thx to all who contribute to this site, all who lended input, those who sold me their gear, and happy trails to anyone else reading this someday.

I'll post a sample sometime in the future- might be awhile though!
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 09:45:17 PM by love2tape »

Offline rocksuitcase

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So awesome you had a great experience. +T for good planning.
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Just writing all this in the hopes that it helps someone else down the line some day.. It was quite the experience going from ‘zoom + basic board patch’ to anything more substantial. I’ll tell ya, I sure was sweating’ while I was setting everything up for the first time.

Once again, thx to all who contribute to this site, all who lended input, those who sold me their gear, and happy trails to anyone else reading this someday.
It's not always high temperature or exertion that causes sweat!


Sounds like you did "A" quality work and learned a LOT, while you had fun and made friends!
+t
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Offline capnhook

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An extra t-shirt in your gear bag has many uses, love2tape.  ;)  Don't sweat it.

Thanks for the play-by-play, and make great tapes.  :coolguy:
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Offline KenH

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>  KenH included the mics original cases

The KM184's fit snugly into a Pelican 1010 Micro Case.  I used 2 sections of closed cell foam pipe insulation inside the case for padding along with regular pelican foam for the lid. Nice and secure, and a hell of a lot less bulky and lighter than the Neumann wooden case.

Still have it if interested, don't think I'll be using mine, but they're less than $10 on Amazon right now...
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Offline Gutbucket

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Hey congrats! Quite an endeavour. Sounds like it went successfully and provided a full spectrum of taper experience from unsurety and angst to relief and joy once everything works out!
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

 

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